DaVinci have been pioneers of the vaporizer industry ever since they launched their original DaVinci vaporizer way back in 2012 (we were so young!). We have seen this once small company grow with the release of the Ascent, which exploded on the vaporizer scene in 2013/2014 to rave reviews. The DaVinci IQ is the third installment of Da Vinci’s growing vaporizer line and features a ceramic heating chamber and a zirconia vapor path which helps provide powerful, smooth vapor with each draw and a bluetooth app to increase functionality and performance.
Editors Note: For those looking for a vaporizer that has the portability of the DaVinci IQ but that the powerful vapor of the Mighty, be sure to check out the Zeus Arc, a high-powered portable vaporizer that puts powerful draws in the palm of your hand. You can read how these 2 stack up in our Zeus Arc vs DaVinci Showdown.
Review: DAVINCI IQ
Loading the DaVinci IQ is simple, just swing open the door at the bottom of the unit to reveal your heating chamber and pack it tightly with herbs. For best results we recommend filling the chamber with the herbs packed down into place. Then swing the door closed and you are ready to start vaping.
There are several ways you can use the DaVinci IQ, one is direct interaction with the device, the other is using a Bluetooth connection with your phone and the DaVinci IQ app.
When using the device without the app, press the power button on the side of the device 5 times to turn it on. The device will start up in “Smart Path” mode, which allows you to set a temperature range to vape at. When a smart path is selected it starts at the low end of the temperature range and then slowly increases to the top end of the temperature range. So smart path 4 for example starts at 205C and then works it was up to 220C over the course of a 10 minute session. This is great for those who likes to increase temperature throughout the session by adding automation and removing the constant interaction with the device. These smart paths can be customized with the IQ app for a more fine tuned session.
If you do not wish to use smart paths simply press the power button once to enter into “Temperature Control” mode. In this mode the vaporizer operates like any other precise temperature control unit allowing you to set your temperature down to the individual degree using the up and down buttons on the side of the device.
If you are more of a techy you can use the IQ with the Da Vinci IQ app which can be downloaded from iTunes or Google Play. This app actually allows you to turn the IQ on and off with your phone, which is a pretty unique feature and a first for the vaporizer industry! The app also allows you to set your temperature like you would on your device and customize your own smart paths as previously mentioned. The app also tracks your usage allowing you to see how you interact with your device during a session. What is also neat about the app is that like the Firefly 2, it will allow you to update the software in the unit as patches come out allowing the manufacturer to address glitches and issues on the fly. We love the ability to control the IQ multiple ways adding in-depth customization to your vapor session.
As mentioned in the section above, there are multiple ways to set your temperature with the IQ to achieve your “perfect session”. The IQ has a maximum temperature of 222C which is more than enough for vaporizing herbs. You can choose to use the IQ’s smart paths which slowly increases the temperature of the unit within a certain temperature range. This can be modified to your own preference using the app, which is really awesome for people who enjoy vapor stepping, which you can read more about here.
You can also use the unit as a standard vaporizer where you set the temperature yourself. This is great for people who have already experimented with vapor temperatures and have found their own sweet spot in which they prefer to vape.
The unit also features a boost mode, which is engaged by pressing and holding the power button. When the boost mode is engaged the temperature rapidly increases to its highest temperature. This is great for those who want to get every last bit from their herbs at the end of their session.
We love having the option of using both the smart paths and precise control, it adds a lot of customization to your sessions and we found it fun to switch between the two. It makes it feel like you own two completely different units.
The DaVinci IQ is the first vaporizer to feature an all ceramic vapor path to maximize flavor. This is another first for the vaporizer industry and we are happy to report that both vapor production and flavor from this unit is outstanding.
At lower temperatures draws and smooth and full of flavor, for a conduction vaporizer the flavor we got off this unit was impressive and almost on par with a convection unit, almost. At higher temperatures you get nicer vapor production and decent flavor, however flavor diminished much more quickly on higher temperatures.
Vapor is always cool because of the design of the air path and we never experienced any hot hits, this device really does draw like a pencil. The smart paths is a really nice way to enjoy your vapor, starting draws are full of flavor and then draws become stronger as the temperature slowly increases. This is a great way to experience all the subtle flavors of your herbs as you increase the temperature.
We found for best vapor production to pack your herbs fairly tightly in the chamber. Not so tight that you restrict your airflow, but tight enough that herbs won’t fly around in the chamber.
The manufacturing quality of the IQ is a huge step up from the Ascent. The Ascent is in no way a bad device, but its glass vapor path and swing-hinge door made the unit fragile and had to be handled with care. The IQ does away with the all glass vapor path introducing ceramic zirconia, one of the most robust forms of ceramic available. This means you don’t have to worry about the air path being damaged like you do in the Ascent if the device is handled roughly, which is much better than buying costly glass replacements.
The IQ has doors on the top of the unit and bottom which swing open to access the heating chamber, vapor path and mouthpiece. These doors are the only real weakness of the IQ as we fear the hinges won’t survive a drop and could cause issues. While you should always be careful with your vaporizer, mistakes happen and we would hate to see a vaporizer be rendered useless from a drop.
On the door, where the heating chamber is located DaVinci has installed a ceramic zirconia “pearl” which helps reflect heat to the bottom of your herbs, where they normally wouldn’t be cooked. We were skeptical at first that this would have any impact, but it actually did work to provide a much more even cook to our herbs. We will note though that the ball appears to be weakly attached and we have heard of several user reports where the ball actually snapped off and no longer could be used.
The display of the IQ features a 51 light grid display and while it looks very flashy from afar, but we did find it a bit hard to read, especially depending on viewing angle and lighting. We preferred the display on the “stealth mode” setting which you can access by simultaneously pressing the power button and down arrow. This dims the display and made it a little easier on the eyes to read the display.
The size of the unit is also significantly smaller than the Ascent and features a removable 18650 battery which we’ve seen in units like the Arizer Air. The removable battery is a welcome addition and greatly improves the lifespan of your unit. The battery is usually the first thing to fail on a vaporizer, so having the option to replace it for a new ones means you will be able to use this device for a very long time.
It is also backed with a huge 10 year warranty from DaVinci which is one of the longest in the business. However we have heard reports from early adopters of the Da Vinci who had to deal with warrantying their device that Da Vinci’s customer service is a bit lacking, leading to long wait times to get their devices replaced.
This is actually one section where the IQ seemed to under perform. The included 18650 is a bit on the weak side when it comes to battery life. In our time with the IQ we found we could only really get 2 sessions in before the device died. This is less than ideal and is even worse than both the Arizer Air (which also uses a removable 18650) and the Crafty which are known to have weak batteries. We also found that the battery indicator was not the most accurate, when plugged in the unit would show a full charge but when we unplugged the unit and turned it on, a notch was already gone from the battery and it hadn’t even been used.
This would not be so bad if the unit did not take so long to charge the battery, which we found takes roughly an hour and a half to 2 hours to fully charge once dead.
We also found that the battery indicator was not the most accurate, when plugged in the unit would show a full charge but when we unplugged the unit and turned it on, a notch was already gone from the battery and it hadn’t even been used.
We really wish DaVinci included a second battery just to boost the devices overall battery performance, similar to the Firefly 2, because right now the included battery just doesn’t cut it.
As we briefly touched upon, this device is much smaller than the Ascent, standing only 3.5 inches tall, 1.65 inches wide and just less than an inch deep. This now rivals the Pax 2 in terms of size (its actually shorter than the Pax 2) but offers far more functionality.
The device easily slips into a pocket and you will barely notice it is in there. The device also has 2 different mouthpieces, a flat one for more incognito sessions and a ceramic tube mouthpiece which can also be used to attach the unit to a 10mm water pipe or the Zeus Iceborn.
The flat mouthpiece offers a bit more portability and won’t occasionally jab you in the leg while in your pocket like the tubed shaped one might. But regardless of the mouthpiece you choose this device is built for portability.
The IQ can be used either on its own or with the included app. We are happy to see that DaVinci decided to offer users both options, allowing users to choose how they wish to interact with their unit. Unlike the Firefly 2 which forces you to use the app to change temperature settings which can get annoying.
The app is elegantly designed and very user friendly, even the most technophobic user can feel confident opening the app and using it. But if you don’t want to use the app, then you can just use the devices buttons to interact with it.
Most modes are available through both the app and the device. The only thing you cannot do on the device is set custom smart paths. However you use this device the end result is the same, a user friendly experience.
Because the IQ is so small it can be easily concealed in the palm of your hand to be kept out of sight. The LED light grid on the front of the device can be dimmed but not shut off entirely, so if you are in a dark room and using the IQ you will still attract some attention to yourself.
Using the device at lower temperature will help keep visible vapor to a minimal and the device only seems to cause odor while the device is active. However if you do not clean the unit it will begin to take on a smell if you are worried about that then just make sure you care for your device and you should be fine.
We have to take a moment and applaud DaVinci for the amount of innovation and engineering that went into the IQ, it truly is a work of art.
The device is small and extremely portable giving units like the Pax 2 a run for its money. It also offers far more features, like Smart Path technology, custom vapor cycles, and a mobile app.
The all ceramic vapor path provides users with some of the best tasting vapor ever produced from a convection unit and the ceramic pearl in the heating chamber helps achieve an even cook.
You can tell DaVinci put a lot of thought and love into this device, learning from the shortcomings of their previous units. If you love DaVinci products or just vaporizers in general then will love the IQ, it’s a perfect mash of fashion, function, and technology.
If you like the sounds of the IQ but are not as interested in the extra features like bluetooth, check out the Zeus Arc, which features a similar size but is geared towards a more user-friendly experience.